Bargaining with the employer is continuing to go well. Last month, we achieved a major milestone when we exchanged initial proposals. Since then, our team continues to meet regularly. We are in regular contact with the employer, and we have virtual “at the table” sessions scheduled throughout the summer.
We are fully prepared for these more formal sessions and although we wish things were moving faster, it is of paramount importance that we get this first collective agreement right for all of us. It is especially important that we show solidarity with each other throughout the bargaining process. The stronger we are as members of our Local, the stronger our position is at the bargaining table.
We must strive toward a collective agreement that will blend both categories of employee and both groups to eliminate the disparity caused by the employer. We must also ensure that we are recognized for our critical and specialized roles as Public Safety Communicators.
We will continue to bargain in good faith and respect the confidentiality of the bargaining process. It is in all our best interests to do this so that we can have fair and open negotiations with the employer. Rest assured that when we have reached a tentative agreement, it is you – the membership – who will decide whether to accept the agreement.
Based on some feedback and questions we have we received, we want to share some background information on our Union, our bargaining team, and how some of these things work.
CUPE Locals are autonomous. This means that we, as a Local, decide what our priorities are based on what the membership wants. We have access to all kinds of resources from CUPE National such as researchers, negotiators, staff representatives, and lawyers. However, we decide the direction and mandate of our Local and we have our own bargaining team that negotiates directly with the employer.
Our bargaining team includes our lead negotiator from CUPE National, our President, and our six Regional Chairpersons. Our President and our Regional Chairpersons are all members of our Local: CMs and PSEs, IMs and TOs. This is our contract too. Our lead negotiator is also our CUPE staff representative who we have been working with closely for several years. He is an extremely experienced negotiator with previous law enforcement background. Since our inception, we have been working with our negotiator on our proposals. Even when we are working on other important tasks and representing our members, the research, learning, work, and re-work on bargaining has been continuous.
We know this is taking a long time. We are frustrated too. It is an extraordinarily complex process and scheduling with the employer does not always go as quickly as we would like. That said, we are on the right track and things are picking up. We really appreciate your continued support – the kind messages and words of encouragement go a long way to keeping us excited and energized about this historic process.
Please continue to reach out to your Stewards or Regional Chairpersons directly if you have questions or concerns.